TCL Says Its New E Ink Colour Display Can Handle Video

Image: TCL
Image: TCL

Known for its tablets, TVs, and phones, TCL has this week announced a new technology, NXTPAPER, that could totally change how you think about e ink. E ink displays are known for being great to stare at for hours and perfect for reading books (and sometimes even comics), but the latest colour displays from E Ink have low resolution and slow refresh rates, making them unusable for video. TCL claims its new NXTPAPER tech could be a solution.

TCL’s press release is a little confusing, as it appears to compare NXTPAPER both to E Ink’s displays and to traditional LCD displays that you find in most tablets and phones today. But by all accounts, the technology used in NXTPAPER sounds like e ink technology. The press release claims it will be 36 per cent thinner than LCD displays and 65 per cent more power-efficient — which lines up with the gains you get from e ink.

Last week, E Ink told the blog Good Ereader that it had plans to improve its own colour E Ink technology. While we adore the first colour E Ink devices, they’ve not been without their flaws, including a paltry 100-PPI resolution and slower refresh rates. E Ink promised to at least double the resolution to 200 PPI by 2021, with a goal of hitting 300 PPI — the resolution of high-end LCD and monochrome E Ink displays — at a later date.

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We don’t know the exact planned resolution for TCL’s competing NXTPAPER technology, but the company claims it will be full HD, and that the text incorporated will allow it to have 25 per cent higher contrast than traditional e ink devices

TCL also says it will offer a “paper-like visual experience in full colour with no flicker and no harmful blue light” and that it will rely on natural light — which, again, sounds like e ink.

Currently, the company E Ink is the primary producer of e ink displays and the technology behind them, but TCL has rapidly made a name for itself in the TV and phone display arena. Branching into e ink is a welcome surprise. We’ve reached out to TCL for more details on its NXTPAPER technology, and we’re curious to see what it looks like when (or if) it eventually finds its way to devices we can own.

For now, it sounds like E Ink has a little competition, and the e ink space is about to get even more interesting.